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108 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winsome, convincing, intelligent apologia
The Reason for God is one of the best books I have read on why Christian belief is true belief. It is an engaging essay on how and why a clear-thinking sceptic can take the Christian worldview seriously. It forces you to think about what you think about the world, not just what you don't agree with.

Keller's thesis is that no-one is a pure sceptic. Everyone...
Published on 29 Feb 2008 by William Fross

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The reason for God
This is quite a tough book and not for everyone as the reasoning needs considerable theological background to make the most of it.
Published 4 months ago by Jane Hutton


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108 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winsome, convincing, intelligent apologia, 29 Feb 2008
By 
William Fross (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Reason for God is one of the best books I have read on why Christian belief is true belief. It is an engaging essay on how and why a clear-thinking sceptic can take the Christian worldview seriously. It forces you to think about what you think about the world, not just what you don't agree with.

Keller's thesis is that no-one is a pure sceptic. Everyone believes things about the world and people and God. He believes that compared to the alternatives, Christian belief is the closest to the truth about things. Combined with this, he argues that everyone knows God exists, even if they don't admit it to themselves.

The first half of the book addresses common objections to Christian belief. The second half argues for the Christian worldview. There is an intermission halfway through which briefly considers other issues, like why beliefs differ between Christians and Christian denominations. The final chapter explains the implications of his argument for readers.

When I say this is one of the best books I have read, that's because it crosses boundaries in the same way that our own experience does. It has philosophical clarity, it asks us to consider our own experience, it looks to literature and art and science and the world to make things clearer for us.

If you have specific issues, such as questions about a particular philosophical argument, there are other, more comprehensive works dedicated to such things. But for most people this is the most competent overview of all the issues.

Like Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis (somewhat dated now), I would recommend it to sceptics for the reasons above, but also to Christians as an example of how to communicate what they believe clearly and compassionately.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many reasons for reading Keller's REASON, 23 April 2008
By 
Mark Meynell "quaesitor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book really deserves wide readership. So here are a load of reasons for getting hold of it and, more to the point, reading it!

* It is very readable - in fact it is basically a précis of countless conversations Keller has had with various archetypal Manhattan sceptics. The standard format is "X asked me this... and Y asked me that ..."; "and this is how I answered them...". So it is not exposition as such (a small point is that the book could have benefited from more explicit biblical material), but it is fair to say that it is thoroughly `bibline` (to use Spurgeon's great coinage about John Bunyan).

* The format is not accidental - because the aim of this book is to tackle all the big ones that people ask - or rather, all the big ones that sophisticated New Yorkers ask. So it may be that these are not necessarily the questions your friends are asking. So for example, the American political context (with its caricatures of `liberal left' and `religious/evangelical right') is such that it is necessary to say more about how the gospel transcends these boundaries - in our more secular European settings, the presenting issues are slightly different. But i would think that there are few questions out there that have not been addressed in some shape or form by this book.

* It is full of thought-provoking angles and arguments, and helps to put things on the front foot by exposing the flaws in current thinking. As a small snapshot, here is one example. In a chapter about the problems with taking the Bible as authoritative because of our progressive ways of thinking have outgrown it, there is a very helpful paragraph:

Of course, we think of the Anglo-Saxons as primitive, but someday others will think of us and our culture's dominant views as primitive. How can we use our time's standard of `progressive' as the plumbline by which we decide which parts of the Bible are valid and which are not? Many of the beliefs of our grandparents and great-grandparents now seem silly and even embarrassing to us. That process is not going to stop now. our grandchildren will find many of our views outmoded as well. Wouldn't it be tragic if we threw the Bible away over a belief that will look pretty weak or wrong? To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible's teaching is offensive to you assumes that if there is a God he wouldn't have any views that upset you. Does that belief make sense? (The Reason for God, p112)

* Keller has read deeply and widely - and it shows. By that I don't mean that he does this in a showy way - it is all very constructive and handled with a very light touch. So it is not like reading one of those doorstops in which there seems to be footnote for every line or Notes pages taking up more space than the main book. The point is that Keller is constantly tapping into popular culture and secular thinking in order to engage. I am convinced that this is both fundamentally necessary for us all as we seek to communicate to our culture and provides a very strong model. I think this is particularly powerful in his articulation of the problem of sin (a more unpalatable or culturally incorrect subject one could perhaps not find these days!). Check this out:

How does this destruction of social relationships flow from the internal effects of sin? If we get our very identity, our sense of worth, from our political position, then politics is not really about politics, it is about us. Through our cause we are getting a self, our worth. That means we must despise and demonize the opposition. If we get our identity from our ethnicity or socioeconomic status, then we have to feel superior to those of other classes and races. If you are profoundly proud of being an open-minded, tolerant soul, you will be extremely indignant toward people you think are bigots. If you are a very moral person, you will feel very superior to people you think are licentious. And so on.
There is no way out of this conundrum. The more we love and identify deeply with our family, our class, our race, or our religion, the harder it is to not feel superior or even hostile to other religions, races, etc. So racism, classism, and sexism are not matters of ignorance or a lack of education. Foucault and others in our time have shown that it is far harder than we think to have a self-identity that doesn't lead to exclusion. The real culture war is taking place inside our own disordered hearts, wracked by inordinate desires for things that control us, that lead us to feel superior and exclude those without them, and that fail to satisfy us even when we get them. (The Reason for God, p168-9)

* So there is LOTS here to stimulate and encourage Christians. But it is not a book to hide in the ghettos. It is a book to LEND to people who are of a more intellectual bent. And that is thrilling. It doesn't dot every apologetic `i' or cross every `t' - but it is a great springboard for further discussion and inquiry. And there are not many books around pitched at this level that could be said to do all of that.

Incidentally, there is a great website to tie-in with the book: [...] and this makes some great resources available - include sermons to download and an excellent guide for study groups.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, 4 Feb 2009
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I bought this book without any particular expectations. I was put off by seeing it described as an 'apologia' for Christianity. Also words like 'evangelical' and 'born-again' are a big turn-off for me. I am moving from a lifetime of atheism towards faith and am reading widely to help me to develop my own (possibly idiosyncratic) system of belief. In the event I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a heavyweight book but it is intelligently written and helped me with some areas that I am having difficulty with. The author does at times resort to assertions which he does not sufficiently explain or back up but in spite of disagreeing with him in some areas it was a worthwhile read. I don't think that this (or perhaps any other) book will convert anyone to Christianity by the force of its arguments but then why should it? Its purpose and value is to help you with areas of difficulty and enable you to make up your own mind in a thoughtful way about what you believe.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read it, 26 Nov 2008
By 
Ms. A. C. Johnston (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Just like how I believe all Christians should read 'The God Delusion', all atheists should read this book, so that they know what they're talking about. There will be no greater challenge to you than to read this book, and no matter what your world view you need to challenge and question it from time to time. Furthermore, I honestly believe the majority of believers don't really understand what their faith is about, I thought I did until I read this.
I've never read a more coherent argument for the existence of God - read it, whether you believe or not.

In a word: watertight.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Christian book you wouldn't be afraid to give to a skeptic friend!, 15 Dec 2008
Weirdly enough I had to go to my very own highstreet outlet of Waterstones to find this book as the christian shops didn't have it in yet. I had been looking forward to reading this for a while and I certianly wasn't let down. If your looking for hard hitting apologetics this may not be what your looking for, however for the new believer or someone whom is interested in the claims of christianity this will do the job. This is certainly a book I wouldnt feel ashamed to give to a friend due to its honesty in tackling some tough questions and its well written pages. Could I be going to far in refering to it as the 21st centuries Mere Christianty? Good work Mr keller.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and persuasive, 26 Aug 2008
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Yes, this is a compelling and persuasive read. I think what makes it different is that the author has refined his arguments in the hothouse of a Manhattan culture full of 'skeptics, critics and cynics'. One can almost hear the persistent voice of the doubters and the patient answers from a thoughtful and considerate Timothy Keller. OK, some of the arguments are well worn but there is something fresh about the way they are presented with some new 'twists' or angles and I would definitely give this book away to a serious seeker after truth.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gosh, 17 Oct 2009
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This review is from: The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism (Paperback)
If you'll forgive a little background: a week ago, I started missionary training. It's with an organisation that puts almost the entirety of its focus on the spiritual, healing component of Christianity. It's an enormous blessing, and hugely edifying but tucked away in the country with little access to the internet (in fact, this is about the first time I've popped my head abover the surface!) and no theological debate to cut my teeth on, this book has been company, and extraordinarily encouraging. It's been the reasonable, logical, "tangible" basis of the faith; one which complements, supports and ultimately strengthens the spiritual side.

Tim Keller is a pastor in Manhattan, and he is a phenomenally well-read, informed and clever chap. The "God Debate" has become insufferable in so many ways, but perhaps its primary rubbishness is the "My exponent is biggerer than your exponent" argument. There are geniuses on both sides; there are extremist wingnuts on both sides; there are a majority of jolly decent, intelligent people on both sides and Keller, somehow, manages to communicate gracefully with all 3 groups.

The first half of the book is spent patiently refuting (perhaps discussing is more accurate) the main objections to Christianity. Amongst others, How can a good God allow suffering? The mistakes the church has made; the issue of hell; whether science has disproved Christianity and, finally, the issue of whether the Bible can be taken literally. The second half provides reasons for faith. "The Clues of God"; "The Problem of Sin"; "Religion and the Gospel"; "The Reality of the Resurrection"... and several others. He never denies the awful things done in the name of Christianity, but nor does he accept blame where none is due. So while it can't be said that he is objective, he never allows his subjectivity to colour his reasoning - a rare thing nowadays.

Keller has spent years - decades - learning, researching, discussing, answering questions and worshipping God. He is kind, unfailingly gracious and respectful, learnéd and informed. This isn't a book in response to Dawkins - in fact, New Atheism gets relatively little mention. It is a wonderful stand-alone book, written primarily for non-Christians, and Christians that feel especially close to those that don't believe.

You see, not only does he minister to non-Christians and defend the faith, he gently and kindly exhorts Christians to be better at this. To forget the labels of "liberal" and "conservative"; to remind ourselves that this is all about God's grace, and about reaching out to other people. He highlights the way (in America, certainly) the churches that are unwilling to secularise the Gospel seem the least willing to get involved in social justice and to get out into the streets giving help to those in need. The churches that are, meanwhile, often seem to be the ones that compromise the majesty and Holiness of God in order to tickle the ears of seekers. Keller is a rare - and wonderful - voice that is profoundly unwilling to compromise his Christianity while genuinely, joyfully, tirelessly helping those in need.

There are a trillion well-read philosophers and historians out there; a myriad effective apologists (although, few as patient and persuasive); many, many Christians that have a ministry specifically with non-Christians; countless Christians that care deeply about social justice and continuing Christ's day to day ministry; thousands of thoughtful writers that manage to convey not only their own thoughts but your own, and several people that are fundamentally involved in the "God Debate" without ever becoming prickly or mean. Keller, though, is all of them.

Of all the "Defending God" books out there, this has to be somewhere near the top.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open minded and intelligent, 8 Feb 2009
By 
Antigone (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
How fantastic in this day and age to have a book written for the sceptical (and perhaps sometimes not so sceptical) modern audience. It is refreshing that we haven't been forgotten. I found Keller to be open minded and subtly persuasive, his writing style is easily accessible and ideas presented in a clear and intelligent way. His continual references to popular culture and literature I found reassuring, and astute. Definitely worth reading, potentially a life changing book.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and persuasive, 28 Feb 2008
Keller takes people's questions seriously, getting under the skin of doubts that stand in the way of belief in God. He doesn't brush them aside in a hurry to share the gospel, but takes the time to show that these popular doubts have their problems. With doubts exposed as unnecessary Keller then moves to lay out a warm and persuasive case for Christianity.

The Reason for God is written to be utterly accessible to any skeptic and I'd gladly give it to anyone. This will also be a great resource to anyone in the church who wants to be more thoughtful in their beliefs and their explaining of them.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for an open mind individual, 2 Feb 2009
By 
Jeremy (Sheffield UK) - See all my reviews
I highly recommend this book to open minded individuals who is willing to consider well crafted arguments. Timothy Keller is clear and intelligent writer who presents concise and well argued case.

I have brought three copies so far, having given two way to friends.
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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism by Timothy Keller (Paperback - 17 Sep 2009)
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